Alabama Patent of the Month – March 2022

Most shipping companies are able to track a package’s exposure to temperature or vibration and use this information to determine if a package may have been damaged. Oftentimes, packages are temperature sensitive or too much vibration could break the item. There are other things that can impact a package as well – for instance, exposure to chemicals. If a package with food has prolonged exposure to certain odors or fumes (eg. diesel exhaust), the flavor might be altered. Unfortunately, tracking the exposure to chemicals is far less common.

Volatile Analysis Corp., an odor and aroma expert laboratory and problem-solving consulting firm, has recently developed a system to track these chemical and odor exposures. They’ve achieved this using a chemical absorbing device which has sorbent material inside. The device is attached directly to the package or, alternatively, to the wall of the delivery truck. The sorbent material extracts and concentrates volatile, semi-volatile, and non-volatile chemicals from the atmosphere surrounding the package. Any chemicals the package has been exposed to can then easily be identified by desorbing the material. The desorbed chemicals can then be analyzed by any usual analytical method.

The device also has a colorimetric system so that it changes color to reflect exposure to certain chemicals. A micro camera can then capture the time of color change, providing data on real-time package exposure.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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